The Five Most Popular Articles on Free Enterprise
Michigan Chamber Weekly News Update, brought to you by Michigan Information & Research Service, Inc. (MRS).
To Read This Week's Capitol Report Click On The Following Link
This weekly news update is provided to you by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce as a member benefit.
Open Enrollment Bills Prepped for Senate
Earlier this week, the State Senate Education Committee Chairman promised to hold hearings in early September on Governor Rick Snyder’s proposal to force all school districts in the state to accept non-resident students to fill vacant seats.
Legislation is undergoing drafting now, and key legislators expressed hope to have bills introduced in August or early September.
Determining how much “extra capacity” is available in each district is the critical issue for this legislation. During the forum I hosted on this topic, this was the most common question from audience members.
The proponents of this legislation argue there is a great deal of “capacity” for almost all districts in the state and want successful districts to compete for students in an effort to further expand the “marketplace” for public education.
Please stay tuned to my Capitol Report for updates as “open enrollment” works its way through the legislative process.
Open Enrollment Forum Recap
Thank you to the 200-plus attendees who came to Brownell Middle School to learn more about the Governor’s proposal to require all school districts, including Grosse Pointe Public Schools, to accept out-of-district students to fill available space.
Each of our presenters gave a short explanation of their views. One side emphasized the need to create an “educational marketplace,” where schools compete for students, regardless of district lines. He argued there are many successful schools that accept out-of-district students, and that the state’s foundation allowance that follows each student would cover the cost of their schooling.
While arguing from a local viewpoint, Brendan Walsh of the Grosse Pointe School Board, explained that because of Proposal A and the special Hold-Harmless millage Grosse Pointe voters have approved, out-of-district students would bring in approximately $3,000 less per-pupil from the state than is currently spent. He argued this is unfair to Grosse Pointe taxpayers who assess themselves a higher millage rate than residents in other districts. Mr. Walsh also lamented the loss of local control over enrollment policy, with decision making shifting from our school board to Lansing officials.
The audience expressed a variety of concerns about the open enrollment proposal, many of which could not be answered until the language of the bill is made public. Questions included: Who will determine the number of available seats? What would happen if more resident students squeezed-out nonresident students who had already been admitted? Who would pay the difference in the state’s foundation allowance and the district’s current per-pupil spending, the State of Michigan, or the parents of nonresident students?
There are many questions left unanswered that are critical to determine how this legislation would impact Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods Schools. Encourage your neighbors who are concerned about this proposal to contact Rep. Tim Bledsoe TimBledsoe@house.mi.gov.
Grosse Pointe Shores and City Pass Resolutions Opposing Redistricting Plan
Both the Grosse Pointe Shores and City Councils unanimously passed resolutions opposing the recently passed redistricting plan that split Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods into two different State House Districts.
Governor Rick Snyder has yet to sign this bill and I have urged him to veto this legislation and ask the Legislature to reconsider this misconceived proposal.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : By Scott Advertising, Inc.
Grosse Pointe Chamber Announces March Website Statistics - New Website Generates 55% Traffic Increase
Grosse Pointe Farms, MI - April 7, 2011 - The Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) announced today that its website traffic had more than doubled from February to March 2011. The new website launched in January 2011 as part of a re-branding effort that the GPCC embarked on in 2010.
The website is designed to promote both businesses and the community lifestyle in Grosse Pointe. Users can visit the site for information on community news and events. GPCC members each have their own micro-site on the business listing page where they can include business information, logos and photos. Business information can be updated as frequently as members would like, simply by contacting the GPCC staff.
"The goal of the website was to bring business and community information into one format that could be easily accessed by anyone," said Jennifer Palms Boettcher, GPCC President and Executive Director. "For residents and visitors, it promotes community activity and involvement; for businesses, it is another value added to the support already received through the Chamber membership."
Of the visitors to the website in March, more than 505 were first time visitors to the site. The average visit lasted more than 4 minutes, with visitors clicking through an average of 4 pages.
Since the launch of the new website, GPCC has seen a steady membership increase of about 10 new businesses per month, bringing the membership total to 480.
Live Well in Grosse Pointe
After almost a year in the works Grosse Pointe is a little closer to having a designated bike route through the community. The wellness program Live Well in Grosse Pointe and its dedicated committee members, sponsored by the Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce, are finalizing plans to establish a designated bike route through the safe and scenic streets of Grosse Pointe. Committee members and city officials have met and are preparing to conduct a traffic study to verify the route's safety and practicality. Once the study is complete, the committee will attend each GP city's council meeting to seek approval to participate in the "no cost" program.